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EU Cautious On Kazakhstan's OSCE Bid

The vote that in 2005 secured a third term for Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (pictured) was criticized as flawed by observers (epa) October 19, 2006 -- The EU's external relations commissioner today urged the Central Asian state to implement political reforms if it wants to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2009.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner said after talks with President Nursultan Nazarbaev in Astana that granting Kazakhstan the organization's rotating chairmanship "cannot be done at the expense of the OSCE's core values."

Ferrero-Waldner later said the EU hopes Kazakhstan will soon reform its media and election laws, and its constitution.

The OSCE is due to vote on Kazakhstan's chairmanship bid in December.

Nazarbaev sees the taking over of the OSCE's leadership as a way to boost the profile of Kazakhstan, which critics say is making little progress toward democracy.

The Kazakh presidential office said Ferrero-Waldner had invited Nazarbaev to visit Brussels in December.

Whether the visit will take place before the OSCE decides on Astana's chairmanship bid is unclear.


RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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